BMW and Italian design house Pininfarina team up to present a new concept car at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2013. This year’s offering is called the Lusso Gran Coupe, and although the name suggests it is a derivative of the 6-Series family, this car in fact previews what an 8-Series BMW would look like, should they decide to make it.
As with the last year’s concept which was designed by another Italian styling giant Zagato based on the BMW Z4, this car too appears to be a facelifted version of an existing model and not a new car from the ground up. The interior is identical to the M6, save the lavish upholstery and bespoke trimming, and the V12 bi-turbo engine comes from the 760i saloon.
The Lusso appears to be more of a collaborative work between the Italians and the Germans. And as history tells us, it’s not a marriage made in heaven. It would be better if the Germans did what they’re best at – which is the engineering – and let the Italians do what they’re best at – which is designing the thing. But BMW clearly didn’t let Pininfarina to roam free and come up with what they think is best. The Germans insisted on maintain their styling cues, hence the odd proportions and the not so beautiful looks.
It was the same story with the Z4-based Zagato car. It was indeed very artistic and classy, but we never came across anyone who would look at it and go wow, that’s a beautiful thing. And that kind of spoils the whole point of hiring an Italian designer. You expect them to come up with something sexy and desirable, in the same way you expect a German engineer to make something that works flawlessly forever.
The Lusso is not pretty. It doesn’t have the properties of what the majority of people would call pretty. It is chubby; it has a huge nose, the mouth is too large; the hips are too wide; and the bottom is too flat. The Lusso is kind of like Susan Boyle. She’s not a looker, but she’s incredibly talented, and it is because of her talent that people like her.
So If BMW decided to make an 8-Series one day and it looked like this, it would be the comfortable yet sporty ride, great performance, and the overall feel of the thing – and of course the BMW badge – that would make you buy it. BMW has lost its styling mojo long ago and they are not looking hard enough to find it.